Naked, Wandering Child…

Right. So. I’m sitting here just taking a quick view through Tumblr, and I’ve got my noise-canceling headphones on, and I notice my cats acting all crazy like a drug-crazed lunatic has just jumped our back fence and is attacking a tree or something. Whenever anyone walks along the canal behind our place, and they are in the back yard, they get REALLY HUGE and puffy and run inside the house and act freaky.

The other time they do this is when the doorbell rings. Normally I hear it, but like I said, I’m diddy-bopping on the internet with my headphones on. Cats are freaking out, I wander out back to see what the drug-crazed weirdo is doing, but no one is there. So I go to the front door and look out the little window, and I see an older lady from the neighborhood at my doorstep with her big German Shepard on a leash.

So I’m thinking, “Oh, ok. Neighbor lady probably wants to tell me something nice (we have really awesome neighbors and live in a really awesome neighborhood which is weird because everywhere else we’ve lived the neighbors have all acted like they have three tons of raw gold in their houses and we might be casing the joint to steal it from them…). Maybe she wants to compliment me on the fact that since we bought this place last year, we’ve turned it into something respectable instead of the meth lab that it used to look like when we bought it.

I answer the door, and have to step out because my cats are really stupid and sometimes think freedom is THAT WAY (whichever way a door opens to), and almost into the jaws of this nice looking old lady’s big-ass dog. I smile and greet her, but I guess I look sort of puzzled as to why she’s knocking on my door.

“Is that little boy yours?” she asks me, and points out to the edge of our front yard near the sidewalk, where there is this little boy, maybe two or three years old, not a single stitch of clothing on him, sitting inside this lava/bedrock planter that I’ve got about half-built (with no mortar yet either). The little guy just looks at me and smiles and waves, and picks up a rock almost as big as his head and starts climbing out of the rock planter.

I’m starting to worry here. I have no idea who this child is, and where he might have come from. I THINK he might be my neighbor’s youngest, but I almost never see that neighbor, and he only has his kids one or two days a week, and they have a trampoline in their backyard so you know I never see them haha.

Now the older lady is apologizing to me, like she’s crossed some sort of line that people aren’t supposed to cross by knocking on my door and asking if the toddler (barely a toddler really) sans clothes and sans parents maybe is in a little bit of danger, but at same time she’s giving me this steely-eyed look like I’m the shittiest parent in the entire fucking world.

And I guess I look guilty because I’m just standing there on my porch trying to not entice her dog to eat me, and hoping she doesn’t decide to just let the dog bite me for being A-#1 Worst Fucking Dad in Idaho. And I got a stupid look on my face I’m sure. I mean, I’m truly confused at the situation…it just isn’t something you come across every day that there’s a naked little kid crawling all over a half-built, unsecured rock planter (and we talking some rocks that are going to be a child’s worst enemy if they fall over or something).

Finally I start explaining to this lady that I have absolutely no idea who the fuck this little one belongs to. I’m looking around the neighborhood like I’m an Army scout or something, but instead of looking for terrorists or the enemy, I’m looking for an adult. ANY adult. Any besides me and this older lady who thinks I am probably not an adult even though I have grey in my beard and hair.

No one. Zilch. Nada. There’s not a single adult in the entire neighborhood that I can spy, and I don’t hear the sounds of adults or other kids or anything. So I sort of sidestep the lady’s dog and start heading through the front yard to snag this naked little bugger before he gets seriously hurt, but he’s quick and seems to be adept at climbing shit, and makes it out of the rock pile, drops the big rock, and runs over to the tree which is only a couple feet away and also right by the sidewalk, and grabs another rock. This kid seriously likes rocks I think. He starts babbling at the rock and then me and then at the rock while I’m doing the slow-stealth approach that you do when you are trying to catch a cat. Because the little shit moved like a spider when he came out of the planter and he might get by me and I don’t care that there are no adults and no cars active in the neighborhood, I have visions of the kid going between my legs and out in the street at just the moment some stoner or dipshit teenager is playing Indy 500 down our quiet little road, and making blood paste out of Mr. Naked.

I think the older lady sees the expression on my face and realizes we might have a situation, as she kind of starts hedging out towards the street. I’m looking at the kid, trying to convince myself I know what’s going on behind those little eyes, and I have visions that he’s totally plotting to juke left then dive right and leave me holding my jock while he’s burning for an asphalt score. The lady isn’t going to catch him, but her German Shepard might, and then of course I have another vision of the dog snatching the kid out of the air as he’s leaping for a street touchdown and then forgetting it is a toddler and thinking it is the toy stuffed rabbit that I’m sure every dog slobbers on between violent shakes of its head when it thinks it is playtime.

Instead, the little dude starts trying to suck on the rock he picked up under my tree, while backing towards my neighbor’s front door, which is thankfully not anywhere in the direction of the street. He sees me starting to follow, grins, and babbles something at me (hard to tell what he was saying as he’s trying to talk around a dirty rock…), and runs for the big red front door of my neighbor’s house. We arrive at the door at the same time, and he reaches for the door handle, but of course he’s too short. So I give him a hand, but the deadbolt on the door is on…and this is really weird, unless the kid is faking me out and he doesn’t live here, but he’s trying to get rid of me by just opening random house doors on my street and hoping a biker dude or a gun nut takes me out so he can escape.

But no, nothing, so the little dude starts pointing at the doorbell, and then looking at me, then sucking on the dirty rock, then repeats it. Just as I am about to press the doorbell, the deadbolts goes CLICK and the door flies open at warp speed, and a HUGE black lab (his name is Skip, I know this because he loves trying to get my cats to jump over the fence into his yard so he can ‘play’ with them, and well, my neighbor told me his name a couple times before so…) almost runs me down bolting out. There’s another little kid, maybe this guy is 3? 4? and he’s wearing, I shit you not, a little tiny Van Halen t-shirt. The kind that looks like the exact ones I wore when I was 15 and totally into hair metal in the 80’s. It’s even all faded and slightly ripped like my old Van Halen t-shirt.


And there’s no dad, or mom, or any adult anywhere. The mini-Van Halen grabs the naked one and yanks him into the house and slams the door shut. BAM. Just like that. Van Halen didn’t even say a word to me. Now I’m standing at my neighbor’s door, wondering what the fuck just happened…is the little Van Halen guy working for a kidnapping crew? Is he a boss in a drug-smuggling operation? Because the way shit all just went down, I’m starting to get really weirded out. And Van Halen, he acted purely like an adult somehow, but then again, this is maybe my mind fucking with me. I’m still trying to piece together the fact that there’s an old lady with a dog standing in the street watching me, and there was a naked little two year old in my rock planter, who is now inside my neighbor’s house and probably still sucking on that dirty rock he stole (!) from under my tree. Maybe he didn’t STEAL the rock, but the way things are moving along, I’m starting to wonder if he maybe DID steal it on purpose…?

I laugh a little and start walking across the yard to my own door, when neighbor’s door flies open at warp speed again. I turn thinking it will be the dad, and he’ll laugh and tell me his little shits are hard to keep a handle on sometimes, blah blah parenting stuff. And I’ll laugh and maybe tell him I’ll pay the $2 ransom to get my tree’s rock back unharmed. But no, it is Van Halen again. He steps out, screams, “SKIP!” and when the big black Lab doesn’t come running, he screams again. And again. Finally I gave a sharp whistle, and Skip nearly runs me down. Van Halen steps back inside the house and looks at Skip like Skip is holding up their money-counting operation or something and should get his four-legged ass in the house. But Skip, well, he’s a dog. And he thinks this is a new game, and so now instead of trying to corral a strange, naked toddler into the house, I’m shucking and jiving trying to get naked baby’s dog in the house.

And all this time, I’m still thinking, besides “what the fuck?” about the naked kid, old lady, Van Halen, and now Skip the dog, “what the fuck?” about the parents or ANY adult. Like I’m in a weird Twilight Zone episode where all the adults except me and some old lady with a dog disappear, but all the little kids are also left behind with us. My mind starts trying to work angles and invent stories (since this is what I do for a living…tell stories…but this shit is actually happening!) about the situation.

BLAM! Finally Skip sees no outlet and has to run into the house, nearly blasting Van Halen and Naked Boy into the wall behind them. I am about to say something to Van Halen, but he’s already SLAMMED the door hard enough to make his house and my own bedroom window rattle. Once again I wonder what the fuck is really going on here, a kid that size shouldn’t be able to nearly splinter a door frame while slamming the door shut. Then again, a little kid that size shouldn’t be wearing that awesome Van Halen shirt (again, it looks like that shirt actually went on tour with Van Halen), and his naked…brother? shouldn’t be trying to suck the juice from a piece of granite after worming his way through my big rock planter like a lizard. And that old lady? Yeah, she’s still standing on the sidewalk watching the whole thing. We both just stand there for about ten seconds looking at each other and back at the big red door of my neighbor’s house, but it doesn’t open, and no noise is coming from behind it that I can tell.

I looked at the old lady, shrug, and we both part ways, she walking Fido down the street, and me coming back in the house to blog about some shit that just happened that I’m still scratching my head over…

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